Standing tall at a listed 6’8″ and 365 pounds, Howard University offensive tackle Anim Dankwah has had an unconventional path to HBCU football stardom.
Dankwah sat down with HBCU Gameday correspondent Jacobi Simmons and discussed his journey from Accra, Ghana to Howard Univesity in Washington, D.C.
The Senior offensive lineman recalled his early days living in Ghana, having to spend nearly two hours each day commuting to school. Dankwah, thanks to his mother, could speak the English language at a young age very well, which greatly contributed to his academic achievements. However, as time passed, his mother felt the need to approach his teachers and request their assistance in finding a solution to compromise the lengthy commute.
“Back then my mom was really good with school so she could really teach me a lot. Unlike most of my friends around, I knew how to speak English really early. My mom taught me how to read, write and do math,” Dankwah said. “I was really good in school so it wasn’t hard for my mom to ask my teachers ‘Hey you guys have to take my son in’ so he can keep coming.”
Anim Dankwah experienced an unexpected twist when his teacher, whom he was staying with at the time, had to leave. As a result, Dankwah found himself taking an unplanned break from school that lasted almost a whole year.
“Once my teacher left the school, I had to stop going to school which kind of prompted my dad to say ‘Okay my son needs to come live with me because I can not have him not going to school.'”
Later, the Ghana native embarked on a journey far from home, as he settled in Canada with his father. It was at St. Roch Catholic Secondary School that Dankwah’s path took an unexpected turn. The football coach approached him with a simple ask: to try out for the team. But, Anim confessed that the only “football” he had ever known was the game of soccer.
“So they [St. Roch] had something called the ‘get ready program’ for all the freshmen to come and get acquainted with the school. The first thing we had to do was a scavenger hunt where we had to find certain rooms in the school,” Dankwah expressed. “One of the rooms I had to find was the athletic room, so boom one of the coaches sees me and says ‘You ever thought about playing football’ but I don’t know what football is. ‘You’re big enough so you should come and try out.'”
When it came to learning football, Dankwah faced his fair share of challenges, just like anyone tackling something new. But his natural physicality and newfound hunger for the sport motivated his success. Anim officially made his debut in football during his junior year of high school, marking an exciting milestone. He would then find himself in the States in 2018 attending Taft High School in Watertown, CT.
Fast forwarding to college, Anim Dankwah has been a dominant force on the offensive line for Howard’s football program. In his junior year, the offensive lineman was named to the MEAC All-Conference Second Team and the Phil Steele FCS All-MEAC Third Team. During the 2022 season, Dankwah was the Shrine Bowl HBCU Offensive Player of the Week and played a crucial role in helping Howard University secure a share of the MEAC regular season championship.
Leading up to the upcoming season, Dankwah says he’s most excited for her parents to finally see him play for the first time. “They just figure I’m pretty good because I have a full scholarship. But they’ve never seen me play so they’ll probably see me play this year. I talked to them about coming here for Senior Day; so watch out I’m going to be playing crazy that game.”
Senior Day for Howard University is scheduled for November 18 against fellow HBCU Morgan State. A date that’s surely been circled on the Dankwah family calendar.